Me to We has become one of the most well known Canadian charity works in the world as a result of WE Charity. From their humble beginnings in 2008 to hosting celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato at their last few We Day celebrations at the Scotiabank Centre, the charity organization has come a long way. Unfortunately, a new CANADALAND investigation has made accusations with proof that WE isn't the clean-cut charitable organization they claim they are.
If you know the organization's backstory, you'll know that one of the primary reasons that the Kielburger brothers created WE was to combat child labour used by major companies looking to cut costs. Over the past 10 years, WE has partnered with massive brands, created a network of schools in Canada, and have clothing, bracelets and chocolate for sale, with all proceeds go towards their charitable efforts.
This money goes towards "WE Villages" that WE has helped foster, where residents are able to get a fair wage and help create the products and designs that the WE Charity then sells.
From the outside looking in, it seems that WE is a morally good organization just looking to make a change. But, CANADALAND claims otherwise after they released an investigation claiming that "WE lost itself as it pursued lucrative contracts with corporate partner after corporate partner, falling short on upholding their foundational values."
Those brands CANADALAND claims that WE has been linked to include Hersey, Dow, Unilever and Kelloggs - companies that have been verified by Amnesty International as using child labour. While WE claims they are not partnered with Kelloggs or Hersey, it was verified through WE's partner page that they have, in fact, worked with both companies.
Previous senior members of the charity interviewed by the news outlet claim that these companies purposely partnered with WE in efforts to get a "halo effect," as a result of working with a charitable organization to offset their negative image.
Once the news hit Twitter and Reddit, many Canadians were shocked by the news. Others, not so much:
Me to We is flashy, self-congratulatory, and ultimately serves corporate interests. It has stood in the way of substantive teaching-for-justice in #TDSB schools for too long. Fellow #ETT and #ETFO members, we can do so much better, we owe it to our #students https://t.co/L4RpMWTSC1— MarF (@Lindens14) October 16, 2018
But did anyone actually think Me To We wasn’t precisely the worst type of charity already? It is very obvious?— Zoe Whittall (@zoewhittall) October 15, 2018
WE Charity responded to CANADALAND prior to the article being published and offered over 100 pages of a response that you can look at here. The situation has definitely changed the perspective a lot of Canadians have of the iconic charity, to say the least. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds over the next few months.